Born in upstate New York – really, really far upstate New York – Trip Park “started” in the world of art by drawing. Not knowing where it would eventually lead, he took every opportunity to put pencil to paper. He didn’t just love to draw, he felt he had to draw – every and any place he could.
“For me, drawing was a zip-line to staying focused. I drew through high school and college,” says Park. “I created editorial cartoons at UNC, which was fun. Perhaps I had a never-diagnosed-case-of-ADD. If so, drawing was my natural Ritalin.”
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he majored in Journalism, but drawing lead him to advertising classes. A career in advertising, as an art director, soon followed. It wasn’t until five jobs later – an illustrator, a children’s book illustrator, an editorial cartoonist and an animation character designer – that he began painting.
“Let’s be clear. I never, ever wanted to paint!” laughs Park. “I painted with watercolor and gouache when I began illustrating, and I will never forget how messy it was. There was paint everywhere. Later, I illustrated children’s books on the computer. The drawing programs were so clean and simple. I loved the fact that there was no mess.”
It wasn’t until his wife decided to paint and sold her work first that the idea of painting became reality. Trip claims he was shamed into paint. Little did he know, after a few years of painting, he would finally turn himself over to “the mess.”
“I’m a pig-n-slop-slobby. There is paint everywhere in my studio. It is on me, on my clothes, in my hair,” Park says with a sigh. “I miss drawing on the computer.”
Trip works best in his studio, but owns the fact that it’s a complete chaos of art in progress. Paint truly is everywhere. With this, he knows it’s best to stay put. His studio is his creative space.“It’s good I stay inside. People would be highly offended if I flung paint at them in public,” says Park. “Also, I’m a hoarder of many paints and need the routine of all of them surrounding my canvas. I don’t just want my studio, I need it.”
Amongst the artist clutter, there is little about Trip’s process that stays consistent. It is a place he can explore and experiment. It’s always changing. He started with brushes, then for a while only used palette knives, and now he is back to brushes. The only constant; he must love what he creates.
“It stings a little each time one of my paintings leaves the studio; I really want to love each one before I let it go,” says Park. “I owe that to anyone who purchases one of my paintings. If I’m not happy with them, how should I expect anyone else to be?”
In this regard, Park is relentless. He doesn’t give up until he feels the work is his best. He admits to not meeting his own expectations sometimes, but the continued push is what makes his work great.
“I never quite get a piece exactly like I had hoped, but in the words of artist, Ralph Steadman, ‘Anything could be there (on the canvas)… I don’t go out of my way to be professional, I go out of my way to try and make something that is as unexpected to me as anyone else.’ This quote gives me solace,” says Park, “and I continue to paint.”
Trip Park has been with Maine Art for over two years now. We are lucky to have a fabulous collection of his work in the gallery at 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk. We welcome you to come visit and see it in person, but know it is also available to view online at www.maine-art.com/trippark.
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